Ray Sandford doesn't want to do this.
On a sunny yet cool mid-April morning, the pear-shaped 54-year-old emerges from the front door of his ranch-style group home in Columbia Heights. Wearing a black windbreaker and gray sweatpants, he grips the handle of his four-pronged cane and plods begrudgingly toward the street. One of Sandford's caretakers, a large woman wearing all purple, follows perfunctorily behind to see him to his destination.
He's told them repeatedly he doesn't want to do this.
He ambles forward. There's nothing he can do now. No sense in fighting it. Not now.
A 20-passenger Anoka transit bus idles along the curb awaiting his arrival. A short, swarthy driver assists Sandford. The bus slowly pulls away and embarks on the 12-mile ride to Mercy Medical Clinic in Coon Rapids.
Upon arrival, Sandford walks through the automatic sliding doors and assumes his position in a wheelchair. He's whisked to a room on the fifth floor where nurses poke an IV through his fleshy forearm. He's given a muscle relaxant and general anesthesia. Within 30 seconds, the room dissolves. He's out cold………